Grace Shelledy | 26 AA
What is one piece of advice you would give to another student preparing to take the DAT?
First, I would recommend deciding to study for the test during a time when you have few other commitments. I studied for about 10 weeks during the summer. In addition, I volunteered at a local hospital and shadowed Dentists every once in a while, which provided a nice break from studying when needed. I treated studying like it was my job, which I think is why I was so successful. It really should be your priority during this time!
Second, keeping yourself healthy is paramount to being successful. Yes, studying hard is important, but your time won’t be very productive if you are sick or tired from not sleeping. Exercising regularly and spending time outside helped me stay focused. I tried to do a fun thing with friends or family at least once a week. If I ended up being more social than expected one week, I would try to make up for lost time the next week. Overall, make sure you dedicate the time needed to study for the DAT, but remember to continue engaging in other activities that make you happy.
How did you use Crack the DAT to prepare for the DAT?
My favorite part of Crack the DAT was the practice problems. For the first half of my studies, I focused on reviewing the material. The second half was centered on taking practice tests and reviewing the answers. Thanks to Crack the DAT, I had a great feel for what the test would feel like. I built my stamina so that on test day I could just focus on the problems, not on how long the test was.
The PAT section of Crack the DAT was the most helpful to me. I had never encountered anything like the perceptual ability test, and there was definitely a learning curve to mastering it. I would recommend being patient with yourself on this section. If you get frustrated, focus on studying on another section, then come back to it the next day. Crack the DAT has all the tools necessary for you to succeed on the PAT section and DAT in general.
What would you do differently to prepare for the DAT?
If I were to re-do the DAT, I would focus more on preparing for test day nerves. I was very nervous the morning of my test, which I had never really experienced for other tests in undergrad. I then became nervous about the nerves, and whether it would negatively impact my performance. I would recommend thinking back on your months of hard work, and how far you have come. Also, you could ask a family member or friend to give you a pep talk the day before to boost your confidence.
In addition, I would reach out to older students in my schools pre-dental society that took the DAT before me. I did research on the internet about people’s experiences, but it would have been nice to ask for advice from people who had taken the same classes as me in college as a reference for what else needs to be known.